SFA fatal crash hearing focuses on cell phone, person of interest

SFA fatal crash hearing focuses on cell phones and person of interest
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 10:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Attorneys met in another hearing Tuesday in the lawsuit related to the death of two SFA student athletes.

Graylan Spring and Micah McAfoose died after the car they were in collided with an 18-wheeler on U.S. Highway 59 near Corrigan in January.

Attorneys met again today in an Angelina County court room trying to reach agreements on the case. The first being the cell phones, a big point of contention in previous hearings.

The defense’s lawyer, representing the trucking company, Marcy Rothman, wanted all of the cell phones to be rescreened using a service called Cellebrite Premium. Rothman argues that the previous screenings may not have shown the full details before and during the crash.

Attorney Mike Love representing the Spring family says both parties agreed the cell phones will be rescreened using the same platforms.

“We are going to do five minutes of data activity for the truck driver and the auto passenger,” Love said.

The driver, Micah McAfoose’s phone will be screened for only for 86 seconds before the crash occurred due to a prior supreme court case ruling.

Also discussed, the deposition of a Polk County DA paralegal. The plaintiff’s attorney alleging the paralegal had a personal relationship with the owner of Hughes trucking company. At this time, we are choosing not to release her name.

After the wreck a criminal case was opened in Polk County.

Jarred Bloome, an attorney for the defense. They allege the families’ attorneys reached out to the DA’s office requesting a full investigation of the crash and lost dash cam video.

“When that happened, in her official capacity as working for the Polk County district attorney, she went to Mr. Hughes to get a statement on this issue. She talked to him on the phone, drafted up a statement, she presented it to him, and he signed it,” Bloome said.

The ultimate decision was to no bill the driver. Bloome says the personal relationship shouldn’t be a point of concern and is a conspiracy.

Tim Newsom, an attorney for the McAfoose family, says they should have the right to depose her.

“For us to have to sit here and say we would like to question the person that assisted and preparing Mr. Hughes statement particularly because they have some sort of personal relationship, that is no conspiracy. We are entitled to that discovery,” Newsom said.

Polk County DA Shelly Bush-Sitton was also there and stated she was aware the two knew each other personally.

“The decision I made was who is probably the one person in my office he might be honest with and tell her what happened, was her. So, I had her do what I normally have one of my investigators do, she followed my procedures, she typed up a statement, she sent it to him, had him review it,” Bush-Sitton said.

Both parties agree that the attorney hired by the Polk County DA’S Office, Dana Williams, will review text messages between the paralegal and the owner of Hughes trucking in regard to the statement taken. Williams will be looking for any messages regarding the accident, dash cam or SD card. They agreed the messages will be looked at from the date of the accident to the present day.

A deposition of the paralegal will then be scheduled for a later date.

The next hearing has not been scheduled yet.